Gateway Cross Cup


Gateway Cross Cup snuck up on me this year. I was out of town at a conference in Chicago the weekend before the race. The Cat 4 race was 40 minutes. I hadn’t ridden a bike for 40 minutes in several weeks, let alone raced. But, whatever.


I took the afternoon off work and went over to Heman Park. It had rained heavily the entire day before the race and the course was ridiculously muddy. I was the last person to register for the race and was unfortunately placed at the very back of the pack for the start (last year I was in the front row). This made things difficult. I spent the entire race going slower than I needed to and trying to find the right place to pass people. I steadily moved up the whole time. I caught up with my teammate Mike with about a lap to go and passed him with half a lap to go. We finished 14th and 15th. I moved up through more than half the field, but I just started too far back to have a chance at a good result.

Cross Country

A couple hours after the bike race was the “5K” cross country run. This year it was only a half mile longer than advertised (last year it was a full mile longer). The turnout was even smaller than last year with just 9 starters. From the gun one guy took off and would never be seen again. I hung back in a small pack but broke free about a mile into the run. I ran the last 2.5 miles alone and finished in 2nd place. Just like last year. There was a payout for finishing 2nd that exactly covered my entry fees for both races, so I broke even on the day. Just like last year. I also received a bottle of Michelob Ultra, which I gave to Melissa.

More Cyclocross

I stuck around for the Men’s Open race, the Women’s Pro race, and the Men’s Pro race. It was a lot of fun to watch really good riders on the extremely sloppy course. Here’s a bunch of photos.

Quantum Mesa Cycles in the open race:





Pro race:








Frozen Feet

Training for my upcoming 50K race debut at Fuego y Agua has, well, not gone 100% according to plan. I had knee problems in November and back problems (unrelated to running, but every bit as frustrating) in January. My back finally recovered a bit, I got a couple weeks of solid training in, and I decided I wanted to test myself with a race before Fuego y Agua. I picked the Wildwood Frozen Feet 12 mile “trail” race on January 28. Of course, all but one of those miles were on a paved trail, but I didn’t know that until just before the start. This is why it pays to check out the course ahead of time.

12 miles is a weird race distance for me in the same way as a half marathon. It’s short enough that I’m capable of running fast the entire way. But it’s long enough that it’s really going to hurt if I do. I’ve done very little speed work since October, so I knew I wasn’t going to run that fast. And I didn’t want to hurt myself either. My plan (here we go again) was to start relatively slow and speed up as the race progressed. I actually stuck with it. For about a mile. Which is about a mile longer than usual.

I let a bunch of people fly past me at the very beginning and I ran quite conservatively for the first mile. I was proud of my self control. Of course, that couldn’t last. I felt so good with 11 to go I decided to pick up the pace a little bit. Then a little bit more. And so on. I passed about 20 people, running the next two miles around 6:20-ish pace (much faster than I should have been going at that point). I made it as high as about 6th by the time we hit the actual dirt (mud) trail, which slowed me down a bit. And, as per usual, I never really recovered from there.

Half way in we hit a two mile long hill, which slowed me down. The temperature was 33˚F, and it had rained all night, so the pavement was wet. The shady areas were riddled with invisible icy patches, which further slowed me down. To be fair they slowed everyone down a bit, but I was already struggling. Half the people I surged past earlier flew by me (again). At least at the top of the hill we would turn around and have a nice two mile long downhill section, right? Oh right, the ice. It was worse on the way back down.

At the bottom of the hill we still had two miles left to run. Into a headwind. People were passing me left and right. I finished in a time of 1:22:55, not even close to what I was hoping to run. My 16th place finish was my second lowest finish in a foot race in the last 18 months. I didn’t even win an age group award.

Adding insult to injury, running the race left me with a sore back the next morning. It wasn’t as bad as the pain that kept me from running for 10 days earlier in the month, but it was impossible to ignore. And it was only the beginning. Two days after the race I had another back spasm (again unrelated to running) that knocked me out for another 10 days. This is absolutely not what I needed three weeks out from the big race. On the bright side it forced me to take a three week taper, which I wouldn’t have done if I were healthy. So maybe I’ll be super-refreshed at the starting line in Moyogalpa. Maybe.

Forest Park Cross Country Festival

I screwed myself again, or so I thought. The week before I ran the Macklind Mile in July I did a really hard speed workout, you know, to prepare for the race. Instead what happened is that my muscles were sore the rest of the week, including on race day.

Having just completed three days of bike racing during Gateway Cup I decided to take it easy last week and only run once. But it was a doozy. You see, the heat just broke and we’ve had a few 60˚F mornings–approaching ideal running weather. I took advantage of this to knock around five minutes off my fastest time for my 10-mile Forest Park loop. Once again, this left my muscles sore the rest of the week, including race day. But I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while, so I was going to run no matter how awful I felt.

The Forest Park Cross Country Festival is mainly a high school event, but they have an “open” race for non-high-schoolers. The race is 4km (around 2.5 miles), so it’s short and fast. The 2km grass loop has two small hills. I told myself what I tell myself before every race: start slow then build from there. The bizarre thing is that I actually did it this time, and I think it was due to my soreness.

Dozens of runners passed me in the first couple hundred meters. After a half mile I started to pick up the pace a bit. Then around three quarters of a mile I really picked up the pace. I passed the first mile in 5:41–fast, but not killing myself. But I was still accelerating at this point, passing runner after runner. I ran the entire second loop by myself, with the next closest runner unattainably far ahead. I passed the second mile also in 5:41–even splits, perfect.

I finished about 30 seconds faster than last year (when I was in very good shape), and I did it with sore legs (which were now incredibly sore). When they posted the results I was shocked to see that I actually came in 4th place overall (after finishing 25th last year). Okay, the competition wasn’t quite as good as last year, but still, a good result is a good result. It was especially helpful as a morale booster after Monday’s awful bike race.

Maybe I should run more races on sore legs… or maybe not. Melissa was sick of hearing me complain about my pains and she suggested I might be doing to much athletic activity. I responded that I only did one workout last week… well, and four races.

Edwardsville Crit

Edwardsville Crit course map

Due to my knee problems over the winter I got off to a late start with competitive cycling this year. I’ve been doing the Tuesday night practice crits at Carondelet Park the the past six weeks or so. Today I finally rode my first race race of the season, the Edwardsville Criterium.

Edwardsville Crit bib

The race started at 1pm. It was 97-ish˚F. A fairly large group started, seemingly well over 50. Despite my best effort to get towards the front at the start I found my way to the back of the pack and I spent the first third of the race yo-yoing off the back. I had to close a number of gaps left open by riders in front of me. By the halfway point I moved up about midway through the dwindling pack.

Cat 3

(photos from cat 3 race)

The race didn’t particularly suit me. It had seven corners, four of them sharp and narrow. Let’s just say cornering isn’t my specialty. It was flat. I prefer hills. It was hot. I’d take 40˚F over this any day. That having been said, I’ve been making strides in each of these areas.

Corner 2

When the lap-remaining count reached single digits I started moving up a few places each lap. When the bell rang with one lap to go I was sitting comfortably in the top ten and still moving up a bit. Unfortunately my efforts to move up from so far back took their toll and I had nothing left for the final sprint. I got swarmed with about 200m to go and fell to 17th before crossing the line. 42 riders finished.


So it was a good race, not great. This was actually the first cat 4 crit where I finished with the lead group (it’s been over a year since I last raced). It was also the first race where I brought my spare wheels to the wheel pit, though thankfully I didn’t have any mechanical incidents so I didn’t have to use them. There was one crash about five laps in that I safely navigated around. I don’t think anyone was injured.

Mike leads cat 3

I recognized a number of other rides from the Tuesday night races, but I don’t actually know any of them. The only person I knew there was former Wild Card rider Mike, who rode the cat 3 race later in the afternoon. That race had a nasty crash in the final corner of the final lap, with two or three guys flipping over the barricades into the crowd. Yikes!

Solo winner, sprint for 2nd, pileup in last corner

July 2011

Photo of the Day



Ready to run

I had a decent race to start the month, vacation, and a handful of 9-10 milers in brutal heat. The good news is that these slogs really paid off, as I’m handling the heat much better now.

Month Distance # Workouts Avg per Workout
January 13.54 Mile 3 4.51333 Mile
February 33.47 Mile 7 4.78143 Mile
March 71.64 Mile 10 7.164 Mile
April 31.12 Mile 6 5.18667 Mile
May 71.9569 Mile 10 7.19569 Mile
June 85.87 Mile 11 7.80636 Mile
July 49.47 Mile 7 7.06714 Mile
Total 357.067 Mile 54 6.61235 Mile

Running 2011 7


What are we waiting on?

I’m not getting out of the house as frequently as usual (fewer short rides), but I’ve been ramping up the longer rides for the first time this year. I’ve been racing the practice crit at Carondelet Park almost every week, gradually improving.

Bike Distance # Rides Avg per Ride
Bianchi 16.2 Mile 2 8.1 Mile
Pocket Rocket 11.76 Mile 1 11.76 Mile
Thundercougarfalconbird 241.57 Mile 8 30.1963 Mile
Total 269.53 Mile 11 24.5027 Mile

Month Distance # Workouts Avg per Workout
January 35.32 Mile 4 8.83 Mile
February 0 0 0
March 3 Mile 1 3. Mile
April 36.25 Mile 7 5.17857 Mile
May 272.94 Mile 25 10.9176 Mile
June 344.02 Mile 26 13.2315 Mile
July 269.53 Mile 11 24.5027 Mile
Total 961.06 Mile 74 12.9873 Mile

Cycling 2011 7


Stream crossing

Again, less total distance here, but a bit more quality with some hiking in place of the usual treks to daycare.

Month Distance # Workouts Avg per Workout
January 56.9 Mile 16 3.55625 Mile
February 47.6 Mile 14 3.4 Mile
March 83.4 Mile 24 3.475 Mile
April 84.3 Mile 26 3.24231 Mile
May 64. Mile 19 3.36842 Mile
June 57.3 Mile 17 3.37059 Mile
July 14.5 Mile 7 2.07143 Mile
Total 408. Mile 123 3.31707 Mile

Walking 2011 7

June 2011

Photo of the Day

FlickrCalendar 1


Elite Mens Mile

I ran pretty well in June, despite the daily 90˚F+ heat and ridiculous humidity of St. Louis. In previous months I had no problems running my morning 9-10 mile loop without drinking anything, but that’s simply no longer possible… I have to stop, usually multiple times, for water. Also, now that Will is spending fewer days at daycare, I’ve moved one of my three weekly runs to the evening after he’s gone to bed and the temperature has cooled (slightly). Mainly it’s the blazing sun that gets me.

Month Distance # Workouts Avg per Workout
January 13.54 Mile 3 4.51333 Mile
February 33.47 Mile 7 4.78143 Mile
March 71.64 Mile 10 7.164 Mile
April 31.12 Mile 6 5.18667 Mile
May 71.9569 Mile 10 7.19569 Mile
June 85.87 Mile 11 7.80636 Mile
Total 307.597 Mile 47 6.54461 Mile

Running 2011 6


Something smooth

After taking it easy on my recovering knee for a few weeks I started adding some intensity to my bike training. And when that went okay I started racing again after over a year off. I’ve done the tuesday night crits at Carondelet Park four times now, each week showing gradual improvement (25th, 23rd, 13th, 11th). Statistically speaking, it’s just a matter of time before I win one, right?

My first race scared the hell out of me. Every lap I lost 5-10 places rounding the fast 35mph downhill corner. The good news is that I was easily able to make up that deficit and more going back up the hill. After a few more races I’m now holding my position there while still moving up when I want. This past week I felt really strong on the last lap for the first time, I just hesitated a bit too long before making the final jump. I’ll judge it better next time.

Bike Distance # Rides Avg per Ride
Bianchi 60.3 Mile 10 6.03 Mile
Big Red 4.4 Mile 1 4.4 Mile
Pocket Rocket 29.85 Mile 3 9.95 Mile
Thundercougarfalconbird 249.47 Mile 12 20.7892 Mile
Total 344.02 Mile 26 13.2315 Mile

Month Distance # Workouts Avg per Workout
January 35.32 Mile 4 8.83 Mile
February 0 0 0
March 3 Mile 1 3. Mile
April 36.25 Mile 7 5.17857 Mile
May 272.94 Mile 25 10.9176 Mile
June 344.02 Mile 26 13.2315 Mile
Total 691.53 Mile 63 10.9767 Mile

Cycling 2011 6


Full charge

Slightly lower numbers here now that I’m not walking Will to and/or from daycare every day. I still try to get out and stretch my legs with low impact walking on a regular basis. Will loves to walk.

Month Distance # Workouts Avg per Workout
January 56.9 Mile 16 3.55625 Mile
February 47.6 Mile 14 3.4 Mile
March 83.4 Mile 24 3.475 Mile
April 84.3 Mile 26 3.24231 Mile
May 64. Mile 19 3.36842 Mile
June 57.3 Mile 17 3.37059 Mile
Total 393.5 Mile 116 3.39224 Mile

Walking 2011 6


Month Distance # Workouts Avg per Workout
January 0 0 0
February 0 0 0
March 0 0 0
April 0 0 0
May 0 0 0
June 3 Mile 1 3. Mile
Total 3 Mile 1 3. Mile

University City Memorial Day Run

A scant few hours after my last race I slammed my knee into a wall trying to step over a baby gate. You wouldn’t think this would knock me out of commission for several months, but you’d be wrong. All winter I struggled with running and particularly cycling. It took forever just to be able to do any training, let alone the type of training necessary to begin racing again. It’s a shame, because last fall I probably had the best fitness of my adult life.

Over the past couple months I’ve been gradually increasing my training, both running and cycling. For the most part now I can run and bike without much (if any) knee pain, though my knee is generally still a little sore after workouts. Last week when I was in Urbana I ran the Second Wind fun run at Meadowbrook park. Without any fast training I ran three miles in 18:41 with a friend, with some serious negative splits. On a lark I decided this meant I could probably start racing again any day now, just in time for the Memorial Day 5K run in our new hometown of University City.

I ran much better than I expected, finishing in 18:25 (5:55/mile pace), only 30 seconds slower than the Danville Memorial Day 5K last year. This was good enough for 8th place out of 850 finishers, and 1st in my age group. I felt no knee pain. I dealt with the 80˚F morning heat and blazing sun as well as I could have hoped. I dealt with the couple of hills as well as I could have hoped. I think with a few more miles in my legs this spring I wouldn’t have slowed down so much during the 3rd mile, but I’m still pleased.

Forest Park XC

The first weekend I stayed in our new house in St. Louis I saw there was going to be a huge cross country race at nearby Forest Park. While the event was mostly aimed at high school runners, they had a 4K open race (2.5 miles). Having just whet my appetite for cross country at the DHS alumni race a few weeks prior I decided to run it. There aren’t a whole lot of open cross country races around, so I wasn’t really sure what type of people were going to show up. The answer is good runners. A lot of them.

It poured down rain all the previous day and night so the course was ankle deep water in many places. It only took a few steps of my pre-race warmup to give up all hope of keeping my feet dry. A sizable crowd lined up for the 7:30 AM open 4K and then we were off. The start was very fast and I was quite a ways back even after I started faster than I should have. The first mile was 5:32, and I slowed down from there. The second lap was a lot of back and forth, notably with a 13 year old boy and a 22 year old woman who went on to win the women’s race. Around two miles in I repeated to myself “I’m too old for this shit“, by which of course I meant races that short and that fast.

I finished in 14:50 (5:58 pace), 25th overall, and I somehow managed to get 3rd in the 30-39 age group. Despite the fact that I actually had a pretty solid race, I was a ways off the top 5-10% I would have expected for this sort of race… indicating the competition was really good.

Forest Park XC

I stuck around a short while to watch a couple of the early high school races before heading back home. It’s been over 10 years since I watched a high school XC meet. It was a good time.

July 2010 Stats

Washington University in St. Louis

I guess the big news is that we’re moving to St. Louis. We’ve been traveling back and forth a lot. We found a house nice and close to the Washington University campus, Forest Park, and The Loop.

Garage sale

We had a fairly successful garage sale early in the month. We’re gradually getting organized, packed up, and ready to move. I won’t lie, it’s pretty stressful. On top of that I’m once again busier at work than ever before. Let’s hope we all keep our sanity in the coming weeks.

Photo of the Day



Are we having fun yet?

Photo by Melissa

It’s too hot to run, though somehow I wound up with more mileage in than last month.

Month Distance # Workouts Avg per Workout
January 109.05 Mile 10 10.905 Mile
February 76.18 Mile 8 9.5225 Mile
March 84.86 Mile 10 8.486 Mile
April 83.15 Mile 9 9.23889 Mile
May 57.95 Mile 7 8.27857 Mile
June 17.98 Mile 3 5.99333 Mile
July 54.62 Mile 8 6.8275 Mile
Total 483.79 Mile 55 8.79618 Mile


Photo by epon

It’s almost too hot for cycling. I think the people I ride with are getting tired of the steady stream of sweat dripping off my face and flying back onto them.

August 2010 Cycling by bike

Bike Distance # Rides Avg per Ride
Bianchi 21.6 Mile 6 3.6 Mile
Big Red 22.9 Mile 3 7.63333 Mile
Pocket Rocket 51.36 Mile 4 12.84 Mile
Thundercougarfalconbird 294.73 Mile 6 49.1217 Mile
Total 390.59 Mile 19 20.5574 Mile

January-August 2010 Cycling by bike

Bike Distance # Rides Avg per Ride
Bianchi 278.6 Mile 43 6.47907 Mile
Big Red 49.4 Mile 8 6.175 Mile
El Fuego 40.9 Mile 11 3.71818 Mile
Lynskey 31.8 Mile 2 15.9 Mile
Pocket Rocket 266.1 Mile 13 20.4692 Mile
Thundercougarfalconbird 1672.38 Mile 47 35.5826 Mile
Total 2339.18 Mile 124 18.8644 Mile

January-August 2010 Cycling by month

Month Distance # Workouts Avg per Workout
January 166.25 Mile 20 8.3125 Mile
February 140.67 Mile 12 11.7225 Mile
March 508.83 Mile 18 28.2683 Mile
April 318.98 Mile 13 24.5369 Mile
May 365.89 Mile 20 18.2945 Mile
June 447.97 Mile 22 20.3623 Mile
July 390.59 Mile 19 20.5574 Mile
Total 2339.18 Mile 124 18.8644 Mile


Walking around campus

It seemed like I walked more than usual, as I frequently walked to work last month whilst listening to live Tour de France coverage on my phone. I guess the previous month’s trip to San Francisco added more miles than the Tour.

Month Distance # Workouts Avg per Workout
January 28.66 Mile 9 3.18444 Mile
February 51.45 Mile 16 3.21563 Mile
March 34.7 Mile 10 3.47 Mile
April 44.35 Mile 11 4.03182 Mile
May 48.75 Mile 14 3.48214 Mile
June 64.2 Mile 16 4.0125 Mile
July 56.3 Mile 15 3.75333 Mile
Total 328.41 Mile 91 3.6089 Mile

Freedom Day

I ran the Freedom 5K this morning at 11am. It was 90˚ and sunny, very undesirable conditions for a short, fast, violent effort. On top of that my legs weren’t moving quite right after 75 miles of cycling yesterday. Yeah, that was a bad idea.

Are we having fun yet?

For some reason this race has way more competition than all the other local 5K races. All the area high school runners show up, which is not typical. This means about 20 runners will finish under 18:00, whereas a typical local race will have 2-5 runners that fast. Of course, the race started super fast. I was well off the leaders’ pace and I still passed the 1-mile mark in 5:32. Ugh, too fast.


It was blazingly hot and I started to fade. My second mile was slower, and my third mile was even slower. I finished around 20th place or so. The clock read 17:55, though my watch read 18:09, a substantially larger discrepancy than usual. Other runners mentioned the same thing. I wonder what the official time will be… The race went okay, considering the horrible weather.

After the race I quickly changed gears and got the family ready to ride Big Red in the parade. Each year the Champaign County Bikes advocacy group invites members to ride in the parade. We’ve done this a few times before. This would be Will‘s first parade.


Ready for the parade


Two sweaty guys

Again, it was blazingly hot. We stood around in the staging area for a little before finding a tree to rest under for a few minutes. Just minutes before we were to start the parade the rain began to pour. Everyone else ran for cover, but I relished the welcome relief from the heat. I was soaking wet and it was the best I had felt all day. The rain slowed to a drizzle as we began on wet streets. A few blocks into the parade it stopped. By the end the roads were dry.

Parade start

Parade start


Champaign County Bikes in the parade

On the back of the tandem

Melissa’s view never changes

Gary rides the “Jazz-cycle”

Parade Ragfields

Team Ragfield in parade mode

Finally, after the parade Will took his first swim in his new pool.


Good times were had by all. We’re not watching fireworks right now. The boy’s asleep and we’re exhausted, so that’s probably a good thing.